What is Shamanism?
Shamanism has been found in cultures all over the world since ancient times. It is a spiritual practice, not a religion, and the shamans’ practices are very adaptable and practical. Many religions that we know of today like Christianity and Buddhism come from ancient shamanic roots and still carry the deep shamanic threads of deep connection to the divine in all things.
Shamanism itself is a group of experiences and activities/rituals shared by shamans in cultures around the world, not a formalized system of beliefs or an ideology. The practices of shamanism are extremely adaptable and coexist with many different organized religious practices, cultures and government systems.
As an individual practice in present times, shamanism is studied and practiced more as a life path than anything. People following the path of the shaman don’t typically seek it out, it tends to fall into our laps, so to speak. Usually after some sort of major life event or traumatic experience.
From a shamanic perspective, these individuals strive to be in relationship with the spirit in all things, have a deep connection with nature, and non-ordinary reality. They seek guidance from these realms to deeply heal on a soul level and intentionally form their own life experiences. Shamanism is the path to direct revelation. This perspective is not contradictory to any religious practice that allows a person to be in direct relationship with whatever they perceive as a higher power.
How can shamanism benefit your health and wellness?
In this day in age, shamanic healing is not familiar to most non-indigenous people in contemporary western society. Lately it seems that more people are starting to find their way to shamanic practitioners for many different health challenges, especially when they are not making the desired improvements with conventional approaches.
Living in a shamanic culture, shamanic healing is typically part of a multidisciplinary approach used along with physical healers, diet changes, plant medicine, and other therapies for any disease or imbalance.
The shamanic perspective on individual disease is quite different than the conventional medical view. In shamanism, it is believed that any illness could have an underlying energetic or spiritual issue, no matter how it manifests - spiritual, emotional, physical, or mental. It is also believed that community disharmony often manifests in individual illness and that similar disease or symptoms do not always stem from the same underlying energetic problem.
Illnesses such as addiction, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, autism or other psychological diagnoses are more likely to have a spiritual component that could respond to shamanic healing techniques.
Physical illnesses, especially ones that have premature or atypical presentations, like a degenerative disorder that normally shows up later in life occurring in a child or young adult, may still have very significant spiritual underpinnings.
Shamanic healing is usually part of a treatment plan with other integrative treatments like massage, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic care, and so many others.
What does a Shamanic Practitioner do?
Shamanic healing work requires the accurate diagnosis of the seen and unseen energies at the root of the problem. After this is established, the practitioner will carry out the specific healing journey needed to resolve the problem. Once the integration is complete, the shaman and client must create the structure and resources for the client to shift and adjust to the changes in internal energies.
A shamanic practitioner will direct and move energy to restore harmony within the individual, as well as between the individual and the community and also between the community and the spirit world.
After thousands of years of practice, I don’t believe that the shamanic approach and practices would still be around if they did not have value. Because shamanic healing is so unique to each person and situation/illness, it is not easy to research based on conventional research designs and not much interest or financial support for researching these practices.
I would love to share my research and knowledge with you so if there is something you find interesting or something that you are curious about, please send me an email! This is my passion and I am always happy to share! Also, keep an eye out on the blog for more articles about shamanism.